The match in a tweet: The Heat upset the Sixers in a thriller to win their maiden WBBL title in front of a sell-out crowd at Drummoyne!
The Score: Sydney Sixers 7-131 (Perry 33, van Niekerk 32no; G.Harris 3-23) lost to Brisbane Heat 7-132 (Mooney 65, Short 29; Burns 2-25) by three wickets with four balls to spare at Drummoyne Oval
The Final Over: The Heat needed five to win, three wickets in hand. One of the world’s best bowlers in Marizanne Kapp had the ball. Delissa Kimmince struck a single first ball, before a collision between Erin Burns and Sara McGlashan on the rope handed Laura Harris the winning boundary with four balls to spare.
The Hero: Visibly struggling with the heat, Brisbane opener Beth Mooney produced one of the more courageous innings you’ll see in her 46-ball 65. The left-hander was regularly down on her haunches between balls and called for ice packs and an inhaler during the drinks breaks. She brought up a half-century from 35 deliveries and shared a key 84-run stand with captain Kirby Short, running hard to turn singles into twos despite her exhaustion. She finally departed attempting a lofted shot in the 15th over, ending an innings that was nothing short of inspirational.
The Supporting Cast: Grace Harris and Kimmince were superb with the ball to help curtail the star-studded Sixers batting line-up. Kimmince (2-25) struck an early blow when she bowled Healy (18), while Harris removed the dangerous Ashleigh Gardner for 23, following up with another two late wickets to cap an economical spell of 3-23.
The Consolation Act: South African import Dane van Niekerk came to the crease with her team wobbling at 4-89 but produced an excellent cameo to add crucial runs for the Sixers. She struck two fours and two sixes – including one massive maximum onto the Drummoyne Oval hill – finishing unbeaten on 32 from 15.
Then with the ball, van Niekerk captured two wickets that turned the chase on its head. Opener Beth Mooney and her skipper Short had formed a brilliant partnership, adding 84 runs to put their team well on track for a famous victory. But in the space of one game-turning over, the South Africa leg-spinner removed both.
The Delivery: Alyssa Healy made a bright start striking two fours and a six, but the Heat struck a massive blow in the fifth over when the opener was bowled by a superb Kimmince delivery for 18 (13).
The Catch: Heat wicketkeeper Mooney took an excellent diving catch to remove Sixers No.4 Burns. Brilliantly anticipating the reverse paddle, Mooney started moving to her right, safely holding the catch and sending the dangerous Burns packing for 12.
The Big Wicket: Ellyse Perry came into the final averaging an incredible 93 and keeping her quiet was always going to be key for the Heat. In typical Perry fashion, there was no barnstorming start from the Sixers skipper but she seemed set for another big, anchoring innings, despite being dropped on 23. But the Heat did what few teams have managed this season in the 14th over when Perry, trying to up the run rate, took on a delivery from Jess Jonassen, only to top-edge a ball into the safe gloves of Mooney as she was dismissed for 33 from 37 balls.
The Run Out: Grace Harris has been the most damaging batter of the tournament in terms of strike rate and the Heat had been hoping their powerful opener would fire in the final. But disaster struck just nine balls into the innings as Harris slipped while trying to return to her crease, run out for one, and appearing to be in pain after falling awkwardly on her already injured right knee.
The Next Stop: For the Australian players, it’s time to switch back to the 50-over game with the final round of the Women’s National Cricket League to be played next weekend. The final of that tournament will be played on February 9, before Australia meet New Zealand in an ODI series beginning in Perth on February 22.
Sydney Sixers XI: Alyssa Healy (wk), Ellyse Perry (c), Ashleigh Gardner, Erin Burns, Sara McGlashan, Dane van Niekerk, Marizanne Kapp, Lauren Smith, Sarah Aley, Hayley Silver-Holmes, Lauren Cheatle
Brisbane Heat XI: Beth Mooney (wk), Grace Harris, Sammy-Jo Johnson, Kirby Short (c), Jess Jonassen, Josie Dooley, Laura Harris, Delissa Kimmince, Laura Wolvaardt, Jemma Barsby, Haidee Birkett